USAF Thunderbirds Announce 2015 Officer Selections
(ICAS) General Mike Hostage, commander of Air Combat Command, has officially released the names of the officers who will be joining the U.S. Air Force Air Demonstration Squadron later this year, to begin preparations for the 2015 demonstration season.
Lieutenant Colonel Christopher Hammond, the director of operations for the 16th Weapons Squadron at the USAF Weapons School at Nellis AFB, will become Thunderbird No. 1, the squadron’s commander and lead pilot. He will have the unique dual responsibilities of commanding a force of more than 100 enlisted service members and 11 commissioned officers assigned to the squadron, along with leading all demonstration flights. Hammond will replace Lieutenant Colonel Greg Moseley.
Captain Alexander Goldfein, a F-15C pilot stationed at Kadena AB, Japan, will become Thunderbird No. 3, the squadron’s right wing pilot. During formation flying, he will fly as close as 18 inches from the No. 1 jet, demonstrating the training and teamwork of America’s Air Force. Goldfein will replace Major Caroline Jensen.
Captain Nicholas Eberling, a F-15E pilot currently stationed at Seymour-Johnson AFB, NC, will become Thunderbird No. 6, the squadron’s opposing solo pilot. The solo pilots perform maneuvers that showcase some of the capabilities of the F-16 aircraft. Captain Jason Curtis, the current opposing solo pilot, will transition to the lead solo position in 2014, replacing Major Blaine Jones.
Major Scott Petz, a F-16C pilot currently stationed here at Nellis AFB, will become Thunderbird No. 8, the squadron’s advance pilot and narrator. His duties will include advancing to show sites ahead of the team, coordinating logistical details with the local show organizers, and narrating to the crowd during performances. Petz will replace Major Michael Fisher.
Captain Christopher Scheibler, a flight surgeon stationed at Aviano Air Base, Italy, will become Thunderbird 9, the team’s flight surgeon. He will manage the health needs of the entire squadron while advising the commander on aero-medical issues.
The USAFADS retains 12 officer positions, with each serving a two-year tour of duty. By design, the position openings are staggered, so the squadron maintains continuity of experience and leadership. In odd-numbered years, Thunderbirds 2, 4, 7, 10, 11, and 12 are replaced.